Success Story - Pa...

Patricia Joshua

An entrepreneur developing sustainable agri-business paper products

In the spring of 2014, St. Lucia entrepreneur Patricia Joshua was a selectee in infoDev’s 50-woman innovation workshop series. She went back to work on her paper products, applying the principles she had absorbed. By the summer, she would find herself one of two women from that WINC Grow your Business series to win a prestigious Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) Proof of Concept (PoC) grant, in her case, for development of sustainable agri-business paper products. See what drove her to become one of the 11 regional grant winners. Watch a narrated slideshow of Patricia's story and learn more about her entrepreneurial journey:

1. What three things would you say help your creative process?

I need to be able to do things differently, and not just be a penguin. I also think that research is a big part of what makes good results happen. Also, I recognize that there is more than one way to solve a problem.

2. Are there significant difficulties for you in starting a business in your community?

Though finance is an obvious one, the biggest difficulty is finding cost-effective inputs and packaging to develop prototypes for presentation to the market. If an effect on my paper product is not successful, I am stuck with the remaining additive.  Also, there isn’t enough start-up cost information on the Caribbean, so we’re left to adapt information from Africa and Asia.

3. What did you want to do when you were younger?

I was very interesed in tie dye, banana-dressed dolls, appliqué on clothing, knitting and crochet.

4. Who was your biggest inspiration at the start, and what that support mean to you?

My adopted mother knitted baby vests part-time. During Easter vacation in my final year university, I did a fabric design course, and this rekindled my interest in crafts. As an Agriculturist, I was drawn to natural crafts, so with everything I did, I looked for a natural material substitute. After watching paper making on the Carol Duval Show on HGTV, I was hooked, using a blender to make paper pulp, then iron it dry. 

5. If you had to do it all over again would you be an entrepreneur?

Definitely, and  I would have become a full-time entrepreneur when I was in my twenties.

6. Why is it so important to empower women?

Women have to be empowered in order to build their confidence and enable them to operate as if the sky were the limit.

7. What are three things that make you think outside of the box?

I try hard not to select the common way to find a solution, and I really do believe in using my wild imagination to do ‘what if’ brainstorming. After all, I always have to do a lot with few resources.

8. As a woman, what are your main business challenges in the Caribbean?

Even now, women are often not taken seriously. Lack of cash flow is another problem, as is an undefined niche market. I’ve also been trying hard not to be everything to everyone (as was identified in my WINC workshop).

9. Tell us something someone may not know about you.

I love to share project ideas for the development of business opportunities for anyone who wants to be self-employed. As a result, my project not only benefits me but other paper makers, allowing for the development of complementary businesses and reducing the need for imports.


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